Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Black Cats, Old and Evil Women, and Romance: Oh, the Splendiferous Gothic Horror!



One of my favorite genres is Gothic fiction, as you may know due to my love of the amazing, almost flawless (I said almost-the plot in the book is a trifle slow, but theplot makes up for it) Jaclyn Moriarty. Gothic fiction is, in my opinion WHICH SHOULD BE YOURS TOO, the best subgenre of fiction: Omens, forbidden relationships, death, pale faces, fainting, and (my personal favorite) excessive creepiness are plentiful within this splendid little gem.

The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano is one of the best Gothic books in my vast collection of Gothic books. Though personally I love Fever (the second book in the series) best, I will only review the first book, Wither, to avoid spoilers. 
The story follows 16 year old Rhine Ellery in post-apocalyptic Florida, where she has been kidnapped and is, along with two other girls, forced to marry rich House Governor Linden with his positively suspicious father looking over. She spends her time plotting to escape from Linden while getting dangerously attached to Gabriel, a servant. The suspense, beautiful, flowing prose, and plot twists and turns will leave you writhing for more-until you're first on the hold list. With each sentence, the story thickens, but stays just twisted enough to not be confusing. The world DeStefano creates almost makes you want to live inside of it-but then you realize it's a world of madness and, oh, yeah, the small problem of women dying at 20 and men dying at 25.

I had to dig this up in my library checkout history-Jessica Warman's Breathless is an old
favorite. 15 year old Katie Kitrell would define herself simply by pointing to the pool her antagonistic father set up in their backyard. She's a hardcore swimmer, with possible Olympic aspirations. Katie's troubled, schizophrenic brother Will is the reason their parents send her off to boarding school. Katie's likable, friendly, and intelligent, therefore quickly fits in and finds herself a boyfriend. The scene is nearly perfect. But the most important little piece of information-why she was enrolled in boarding school-her brother and his less-than-perfect past-is the thing Katie is keeping from all of them. Following the lie and protagonist Katie and her interesting, gold-star-Gothic-fiction roommate was one of the most fun times I had reading under the covers late at night.


Both of these are equally Gothic and just about equally fantastic. Though very different, they are similar in a few ways-they have unpredictable shockers, strong, identifiable teen girl main characters, and writing styles you'll want to try to capture in a glass case and put up for display in a Smithsonian.

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